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LCA: Lessons from 30 years of Sendmail

Feb 10, 2011, 22:32 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jonathan Corbet)

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"The Sendmail mail transfer agent tends to be one of those programs that one either loves or hates. Both its supporters and its detractors will agree, though, that Sendmail played a crucial role in the development of electronic mail before, during, and after the explosion of the Internet. Sendmail creator Eric Allman took a trip to Brisbane to talk to the LCA 2011 about the history of this project. Sendmail is, he said, 30 years old now; in those three decades it has thrived without corporate support, changed the world, and thrived in a world which was changing rapidly around it.

"The history

"Sendmail had its start at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1980; it was initially something Eric did while he was supposed to be working on the Ingres relational database management system. In those days, the Computer Science department had a dozen machines, but the main system was "Ernie CoVAX," which was accessed via ASCII terminals. There was a limited number of ports, so users had to connect via a patch panel in the mail room; contention for available ports was often intense."

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